Telhaug's mentor was the artist Ottar Helge Johannessen, who was previously head teacher (1967-1982) at The Norwegian School of Arts and Crafts.
"An important thing I learned from Ottar Helge Johannessen was to do my thing, and never copy."
Dag Telhaug's motifs are often taken from Lista and Jæren, where he seeks the open landscape, the bright light, the forces of the sea and the great sky. When he paints, he prefers to be out in front of the subject, where he tries to capture the moment, the mood, colors and lighting conditions. He does not like to sit still, and when he paints, it is intense. Nature changes a little too fast sometimes so he often paints alla prima (wet in wet). He paints with oil and acrylic.
The boat is often used as a motif in Telhaug's paintings. The boat that takes you to a destination, steered or random. It is also used as a symbol of life's journey that we all take part in.
"There is something about the boat motif. If you remove the engine and use a sail, the wind can drive you where you want. Out at sea you do not see land anywhere. It's like being under the starry night. You feel small. ”
The waves, the horizon and the high sky above the water surface give the sea a changing face. This also gives the mind wings, wonder and questions of what lies behind the horizon. Even in the dark, if there is only a streak of light on the horizon, the darkness is not so dark, it gives hope. If you live by the sea under a high sky, the color blue often becomes dominant in the paintings. Blue has so many expressions. The color has an infinity in it and which takes you out into the room, and which gives reflection, calm and rest.
Dag Telhaug has participated in solo and group exhibitions all over Norway, and in the US and Germany.
In addition to Ottar Helge Johannessen, Telhaug is strongly inspired by the the Danish Skagen painters and their light.